When Tony Abbott made his infamous comment about the housewives of Australia doing the ironing, we laughed.
It was proof – if any were needed – that fathering daughters, having them in every photo op and watching Downton Abbey does not a feminist make.
But, when it comes to ironing at least, it pains me to say that Abbott’s 1950s values may not be as out of step with the country as I had supposed. Most of my friends, I recently discovered, take on the responsibility for ironing their husband’s/male partner’s shirts.
Most do all the ironing themselves, others do the bulk of it, and some outsource the ironing.
Even the women who outsource still feel that it’s their responsibility to drop off and collect their husband’s laundry.
A friend’s husband recently decided the family budget could no longer stretch to paying for shirt ironing. This didn’t mean that he started doing it himself. No, his wife – who also does paid work outside the home and is the primary parent for three children – was expected to take over.